SAMBALPUR: The district administration may have launched a number of initiatives for rehabilitation and empowerment of persons with disabilities, but it has failed miserably when it comes to making the Collectorate disabled-friendly.The struggle of a disabled person in accessing the three-storey collectorate can be witnessed on days when grievances are heard. Since the grievance cell is located in the first floor of the building, the differently-abled face a lot of difficulties in climbing the stairs for redressal of their complaints in absence of a ramp. The hearing of grievances is held every week.
Apart from the grievance cell, a number of offices are located in the top floors which are frequented by disabled persons throughout the week. The sight of physically-challenged persons struggling with the stairs with passersby overlooking their plight is a common sight.The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 states that all public spaces, including Government buildings must have infrastructure to make them accessible to the differently-abled.
The buildings should at least have a ramp wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs and a lift. This apart, drinking water cans at accessible points must be provided for them. Disabled-friendly toilets are also a minimum pre-requisite.A proposal for installation of a lift was sent to the State Government nearly three years back.
However, the plan is yet to materialise. Sources said a fund of `25 lakh has been sanctioned for the proposal four months back but there has been no significant progress in this regard. District Social Security Officer Rabindra Satpathy said, “Efforts for installation of lift are underway. The work has been deputed to the Roads and Building department which will be executing it shortly.”
The collectorate is not the only building which remains inaccessible. Many other Government offices in the city lack the required facilities to make them barrier free. These buildings also lack audio-visual signage and Braille tactile signs which are a must at Government offices.